A new study presented this week at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology meeting found that obesity lowers the rates of embryo implantation, pregnancy, and live birth in women undergoing in vitro fertilization. The finding backs up previous research suggesting that excess body weight negatively affects IVF outcomes.
Loralei Thornburg, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, talked to MedPage Today about the new finding. Though the study authors recommend mandatory weight loss prior to IVF in order to improve outcomes and reduce costs, Thornburg isn’t ready to go that far.
"I'm not sure that we're ready to make that leap yet, especially since obesity is a chronic disease with a number of bio-psycho-social risk factors and implications," commented Thornburg in this video interview. “Telling someone that they're not a candidate (for IVF) until they lose weight – and we know weight loss is very difficult to achieve and to maintain – seems a little premature at this point."
Thornburg studies obesity in pregnancy, as well as the medical problems that come with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes. She also specializes in the treatment of pregnancies complicated by obesity, which is becoming increasingly prevalent in women of childbearing age.